It is an anomaly though, that, though the film was nominated for 9 Oscar categories, it only won in one. (Jackson & Merlock, 2006) The only plausible rationale for this discrepancy between its legendary status and lack of formal recognition by the Academy is that the film was way ahead of its time. The film pioneered and engendered so many facets of the filmmaking process that it took several years for members of the Academy to warm up to its accomplishments. This essay will focus on the cinematography of the film and highlight how it contributes to and enhances the overall cinematic excellence.
The opening sequence of the film shows the funeral of the iconic American media baron Charles Foster Kane in his isolated residence in the monumental Xanadu. What follows is a10 minute obituary in the form of a newsreel that encompasses all the key moments in the life of the great man. Beginning with his childhood in the rural American wilderness, the newsreel traces how much wealth and power Kane was able to acquire during his peak. This newsreel sequence is one of the most original and brilliant in the history of cinema. The serious yet authoritative voice of the newsreel narrator ebb and flow in-tune with the events of Charles Kane’s life. The intonation, irony and subtle humour of this voiceover is executed to perfection. Matching this aural perfection is the visuals, which are some of the best montages ever assembled. The pace of the montage arrangement is brisk and the shots are short and crisp. The sequencing of these shots adheres to a musical rhythm, which is again in tune with the rhythmic oration in the voiceover. What is striking about this montage is its visual display of power – either political or economic. The shots of elephants and horses airlifted to the private zoo in Xanadu are forever etched in the mind. It is difficult to lose the symbolism of power in air-lifting one of the biggest mammals in the